For my whole life people have said, ‘You should audition for American Idol!’ and I’ve always told them ‘There needs to be an Opera Idol!’ And, voila! We opera singers are so lucky there is, at The Merion! It’s fantastic,” said Sara Emerson, the superbly talented soprano from Michigan who, before a standing room only crowd, was selected as the 9th Annual Opera Idol on Friday, April 17th. The event was hosted by The Merion, a luxury senior living rental apartment community in Evanston.
The Opera Idol finale was the culmination of a vocal competition which drew aspiring opera singers from around the country. The non-profit organization VOICExperience, founded by acclaimed baritone Sherill Milnes and his wife, renowned soprano Maria Zouves, directed it. Sponsored, coordinated and hosted by The Merion, Opera Idol was developed to encourage budding opera stars in a format made famous by popular talent search television programs. An original pool of dozens of college and graduate students competed in a series of rounds, leading up to the April 17th finals.
Milnes conducted the finale in a Master Class format. As the winner, Emerson was awarded a $3000 scholarship, along with airfare, to a workshop directed by Milnes in Savannah, Georgia.
The beautiful Crystal Ballroom accommodated the audience which included residents of The Merion, as well as performing arts aficionados from throughout the community. “Getting to connect with the audience as you express this beautiful operatic music through your singing and portrayal of your character is such a beautiful experience,” said Emerson. “Unlike many other competitions where the singer just sings for a couple of judges, Opera Idol gives the singer the authentic performance experience of singing for a live audience.”
On the flip side, the community appreciates having such high caliber performances at The Merion. “Music is such an important part of life at The Merion, and this event presents a unique and wonderfully talented group of young performers,” said Margaret Gergen, Director of Resident Services at The Merion. “The residents are already getting excited about next year’s competition.”
The Merion is a luxury senior apartment community for active, independent retirees seeking a hassle-free rental home in Evanston. Formerly known as The North Shore Hotel, The Merion has been totally renovated with upscale finishes and amenities. For additional information, visit www.MerionEvanston.com.
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